WEST CHESTER — The Wyoming Cowboys were no match for the Falcon stampede.
Clinton-Massie’s rushing attack went around and through the Wyoming defense, as the Falcons rolled to a 28-7 win in the Region 16 championship game.
After a four-year absence, Clinton-Massie returns to the state semifinals. They’ll play John Glenn High School 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be announced this weekend by the OHSAA. CM athletic director Cindy Running confirmed it would be at Hilliard Darby.
“I just feel so happy for these seniors and all those guys,” McSurley said. “We put a lot of work into this season. At the beginning of the year, this was our goal – to get to this regional final and see how far we could get after this.”
Clinton-Massie dominated the first half on both sides of the ball. The Falcon defense held Wyoming’s offense to just 45 yards of offense.
On offense, the Falcons scored on three very different first-half drives.
Clinton-Massie opened the game with one of its patented grind-it-out scoring drives. Starting on its 31, the Falcons took 13 plays to go 69 yards. Weston Trampler’s three-yard run ended the drive after more than six minutes of possession.
Leading 7-0 in the second quarter, Clinton-Massie’s Griffin Laake stepped in front of an Evan Prater pass and returned it to the Cowboy 23.
This time it took just four plays for the Falcons to cash in. It was Trampler again, this time from eight yards away, and Clinton-Massie led 14-0.
With just 43 seconds left in the first half, Clinton-Massie used a good punt return to start at the 38. After four plays and a holding penalty, the Falcons faced second and 27 from the Wyoming 37.
With just seconds left in the first half and no timeouts, McSurley knew the Falcons needed something explosive. But he also knew Wyoming was ready to defend the pass.
McSurley called Luke Richardson’s number.
Richardson took a reverse pitch from Corey Stulz, got a couple of outstanding blocks downfield, and scampered 37 yards for a back-breaking touchdown just 10 seconds before halftime.
“He’s the most explosive player I’ve coached probably since Drew Frey,” McSurley said. “He’s got unbelievable speed. We just didn’t feel good about throwing the ball right there, because they were dropping back … you could tell they were playing the pass.”
However, the Falcons did not pass.
“So we’re like, let’s use the most explosive guy we’ve got,” McSurley said. “The whole defense has shifted. They thought we were running the option or the toss play back to the field. We came back into the boundary with the reverse.
“Once he cleared the corner, man, he was gone. He was like a rocket.”
Wyoming managed one long scoring drive. After the Falcons were denied at the one-yard line, Wyoming drove 99 yards in 13 plays. Prater found Perry McMichen for a 32-yard touchdown.
Take away the 84 yards Wyoming gained on that drive (plus 15 penalty yards), and the Cowboys had just 78 yards the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, Clinton-Massie finished with 293 yards rushing on 57 attempts. Only three times did the Falcons have a run longer than 15 yards.
Clinton-Massie made three consecutive state semifinals from 2011 to 2013. After falling to Kenton in its first appearance, the Falcons dispatched Bishop Hartley and Kenton during back-to-back state championship title runs in 2012 and 2013.
OHSAA Region 16 Championship
@ Lakota West High School
Clinton-Massie 28, Wyoming 7
C – Weston Trampler 3-yard run (Derek Carlisle kick) 5:47
C – Trampler 8-yard run (Carlisle kick) 7:10
C – Luke Richardson 37-yard run (Carlisle kick) 0:10
W – Evan Prater 32-yard pass to Perry McMichen (Sergio Listo kick) 8:56
C – Christian Poynter 10-yard run (Carlisle kick) 2:18
PLAYS: W 40; CM 59. FIRST DOWNS: W 10; C 23. RUSHES-YARDS: W 21-42; C 57-293. PASSING YARDS: W 122; C 17. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: W 11-19-2; C 1-2-0. TOTAL YARDS: W 164; C 310. PENALTIES-YARDS: W 3-25; C 4-30. FUMBLES-LOST: W 0-0; C 1-0. TIME OF POSSESSION: W 16:43; C 31:17.
Rushing (carries-yards): W Pierson Rogers 11-25; Evan Prater 10-17. C Daulton Wolfe 11-76; Christian Poynter 13-61 TD; Tyler Beam 13-58; Cody Collingham 8-42; Luke Richardson 2-38 TD; Weston Trampler 8-19 2 TD.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): W Prater 11-19-2 122 yards TD. C Corey Stulz 1-2-0 17 yards.
Receiving (catches-yards): W Perry McMichen 4-72 TD; Joey Edmonds 3-23; Rogers 2-16; Moe Mitchell 2-11. C Richardson 1-17.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton